loft market at 476 Broadway is pretty F'in efficient

you know I mean the "F" line market, right?

Regular readers of Manhattan Loft Guy know that I often beat the drum about The Market being not very efficient, at least as far as individual loft sales provide data points. One such percussive episode was my August 15, tales of one loft building / the inefficient market at 718 Broadway, circa 2006, weaker market, 2010. But let’s go south just a bit from that Noho address to a prime Broadway address in Soho, as two recent sales of lofts in the same line provide a contrary example, that of apparent efficiency.

The Manhattan loft #6E at 476 Broadway closed on August 12 at $2.5mm, fairly soon after the upstairs neighbors in #8E sold their "2,350 sq ft" loft with an identical footprint (but very different layout) for $2.65mm on June 24. The lofts came to market within two days of each other in January, and with contract dates of March 18 (#8E) and June 24 (#6E), the two lofts were simultaneously available to the market for nearly two months. The Market clearly preferred one to the other.

same footprint, different floor plans
Let’s look at the more expensive #8E first, the one that found a contract in 2010 within 8 weeks. Reading between the lines of the listing description, this loft was in good shape, with a lot of classic loft premiums, but may have been a little dated.  Note the relative lack of bragging about condition, as opposed to structure, volume and light:

An original 2350sf SoHo COOP loft with great architectural details inside and out. 11.5’ ceilings, 3 massive columns, refinished dark wood flooring, 2 full baths, 3 bedrooms, open kitchen with new GE Profile SS appliances, W/D, and option for Central AC. 16 oversized [sic] windows with THREE exposures, and wide OPEN N/S/W views, providing light all day long, and a birdseye view of SoHo’s cast iron buildings and the infamous water towers, silhouetted against the setting sun. Move in now or redesign into a four bedroom, 3 bath loft.

The somewhat awkward shape of the "F" line at 476 Broadway has, on the 8th floor, been divided into a master suite on the east (narrow) end, with two additional bedrooms sharing the long west wall (with the 50 feet of windows over Broadway) with a living room. The big advantage at this height is the set of windows along the long (north) wall.

In contrast, the  6th floor has no north windows, so the array is rather different: a narrow bedroom over Broadway (8’6" "wide"), a window-less "sleep area" at the opposite end, about the size of the bathroom it leads to, with narrow functional rooms-without-windows opposite the north wall (a 9’3" "wide" office and a 9’9" "wide" library). The effect is seen in the 4th picture for this listing (kitchen, then hallway) compared to the 1st pic from #8F (kitchen and wide, windowed living area). This loft took 5 months+ to find a contract.

bragging on an architect’s name, not her work

As with #8F, the listing description for #6F is an interesting example of Things Unsaid, as it speaks as much about the neighborhood as the space, suggesting that this loft was (also) in good shape, with a lot of classic loft premiums, but may have been a little dated.  Note the relative lack of bragging about condition, with the pregnant name-drop of a famous architect (click on Bond Street on the firm’s projects page to see her 48 Bond Street development):

… classic loft home. Approximately 2350 square foot home combines pre-war character with modern day convenience. Enter into a grand living space with approximately 11 foot ceilings, 10 windows, hardwood floors throughout and open kitchen floor plan. Western exposure offers brilliant light. Master bathroom designed to have a spa-like feel. The original renovation was done by Deborah Berke.

One gets the impression that the "original renovation" was done by Ms. Berke some time ago.

back to efficiency
With both #6F and #8F available in early 2010, The Market valued #8F $150,000 higher than #6F, a scant 6% premium. All buyers would prefer the north windows on the 8th floor to the blank north wall on the 6th floor; some buyers might prefer the true 3-bedroom floor plan of #8F to the 2-bedroom+office+library floor plan of #6F; most buyers would probably be tempted to update #8F, while it is unclear how much of that Berke renovation would survive the new buyer.

Net, net … it seems to me that the (probably) deeper market for #8F (as a true 3-bedroom) and better light are appropriately valued by The Market at $150,000 over #6F. More or less, of course. (Wiggle, wiggle.)

This may also be a case of a deeper market being more easily rational than a thinner market (one with fewer buyers). I will leave that digression for another day.

yes, another unsuccessful 2009 price that worked in 2010
I can’t avoid another digression, one that will be familiar to regular MLG readers. While #8F was ‘new to market’ on January 24, 2010, it had been on the market (on and off the market) during much of the period from February 2007 into October 2009. The unsuccessful prices in the nuclear winter market of 2009 included (briefly) $2.995mm, but after February 6, 2009, this loft did not sell at $2.625mm, $2.7mm, or $2.525mm. When it came back this year, they tried $2.84mm, but only for a single week. The asking price of $2.685mm took less than 7 weeks to result in a signed contract at a minimal discount (1.3%).

I keep saying it, because it is true: the 2010 market continues to reward prices that were ignored in 2009. And:

I know you don’t need them, but here are the basic loft links: July 7, 12 examples of the (rapid) velocity of the Manhattan loft market, and July 8, another sign that 2010 is not 2009, as 60 West 15 Street loft sells.

© Sandy Mattingly 2010

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply